On Jan. 4, the Bethel selectmen voted in favor of procedural policies for the Recreation Board with an amendment to a rule regarding conflict of interest. They removed the word “developer” so a planning board member could be involved with a project development and still vote on the matter.

Gracie Ann Williamson Photo submitted by Rumford Hospital

The first baby to be born in 2021 at Rumford Hospital wasn’t expected to be born in the new year. Gracie Ann Williamson, the daughter of Jessie and Buddy Williamson of Greenwood, was due Christmas Eve, but arrived nine days later. She weighed 7 pounds, 7.6 ounces and measured 19.5 inches.

Bethel selectman discussed potentially charging people for bringing construction debris to the transfer station. It has been talked about for years, but no action was ever taken to start charging people.

The Bethel Planning Board approved a 38-unit condominium complex called Residences at Bethel Station. Included in the approval was a building height waiver for the project.

Greenwood selectman agreed to send a letter to a resident addressing the individual’s refusal to wear a mask while at the town office on Friday, Jan. 15. The individual entered the town office without a mask and would not put one on after being asked by the town clerk. The person refused to leave the building when asked.



Roxbury ATV Riders Club hosted an ice fishing derby at Roxbury (Ellis) Pond on Feb. 13, allowing people to fish even if they didn’t have a license. It partnered with nonprofit Team Hailey Hugs, which received a portion of the proceeds from the derby.

The SAD44 Board voted in favor of moving forward with updated COVID-19 protocols, changing the 72-hour remote learning period to a 48-hour remote period if a positive COVID case occurs in district schools.

Woodstock selectman approved $2,500 from the town’s Tangible Fund Account to go toward advancing access to broadband internet in the area. Grant money is available to assist in early steps toward upgrading broadband service, and bringing affordable, high-speed internet to much of the area.

At the Feb. 8 board meeting, Superintendent Dave Murphy informed SAD 44 board members that the district is expected to lose roughly 40% of its entire state funding. The funding dropped because the overall percentage of SAD 44 students eligible for free and reduced meals fell below the state average of 46 percent, coming in at 44 percent, according to Murphy.

A map of the Bucks Ledge property. Woodstock Conservation Commission

Woodstock selectmen decided to ask voters at the March town meeting if they want to purchase the Bucks Ledge land parcel in cooperation with several nonprofit organizations, and making it a community forest.



The Bethel mural Project and Bethel Area Arts and Music together have raised $30,000 to commission a Maine muralist to make a community-based mural at the Gem Theatre.

A new section was added to Bucks Ledge and the Lapham Trail network. It will connect Bucks Ledge to Moody Mountain and take hikers back to a parking lot off Route 26.

At their March 8 meeting, SAD 44 board members unanimously approved community members’ use of district athletic fields. The approval came with the understanding that these groups “will be responsible for enforcing and assuring strict adherence to all required COVID-19 protocols established by the State of Maine.”

Local singer/songwriter Kevin O’Reilly released a new song, “Wear a Mask” for the Artist Relief Fund in Portland. The then-new relief fund awarded grants to artists living and working in the Portland area who have been heavily impacted financially by COVID-19. His goal in writing the song was to make masks fun.

The more than 130-year-old building that once served as Greenwood’s Town Office and before that as a schoolhouse, was demolished.



An overflow of used pants has led to more than $13,000 being raised for local programs like the Food Pantry, Smile Fund and the SAD 44

Paula Weisberger (left) and Robin Zinchuk work on totes as part of the repant project in Bethel. Bethel Citizen file photo

Backpack program. The repant project, started by Albany resident Sue Lowe in the fall of 2019, focused on taking pairs of used pants donated to the exchange and sewing them into tote bags for sale.

Two grants from New Hampshire based programs helped the Mahoosuc Land Trust recently complete its purchase of the 861-acre Shelburn Riverlands.

It was “Graffiti and World Art Challenge,” month at Telstar. High school and middle school students were challenged to find words that relate to the theme, “Words That Draw Us Together.” Artists had to come up with words they thought depicted unity.

Joy Dinsmore was introduced as the new town manager in West Paris. She previously was the adult residential manager at John F. Murphy Homes in Auburn.


Woodstock voters approved all but one article at the annual town meeting. The town meeting took place outside because of COVID-19. They easily approved of pursuing negotiation to purchase Bucks Ledge.


Residents walking through Valentine Farm stumbled into a great horned owlet laying on the ground, having fallen from its nest. Bethel resident Mac Davis protected the owl from nearby dogs until Jody Giddings from Sunday River Wildlife, a nonprofit rescue and rehabilitation center in Newry, came to the rescue.

The SAD44 school board set the district referendum on the FY’22 budget and board elections. The proposed budget was set at $12,393,532, an increase of $253,571 over the prior year’s budget.

Selectman approved a solicitation letter from the Bethel Airport asking for other towns in the district to start contributing a portion of money for annual operating costs. The letter suggested that Bethel remain responsible for funding the local share of capital improvements, but take on only $85,000 of the annual operating costs, with the remaining $15,000 picked up by the other district towns.

During the annual town meeting, West Paris residents voted 30-21 in favor of a local resolution in support of residents’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms and their objection to any law or executive action infringing upon that right.


Peak colors were on full display outside of Cafe DiCocoa’s, which closed in July. Bethel Citizen file photo

Café Dicocoa, after operating in downtown Bethel for 26 years, announced it would close in early July.


West Paris selectman signed a resolution confirming the town’s support of residents’ constitutional right to bear arms.

A Bethel man has been asking managers at Walmart for years to pick up litter behind the store’s properties in Oxford and Mexico, but when he saw hundreds of face masks, empty Walmart bags, Dunkin’ containers and used diapers spread out and obviously raked down the bank of the Androscoggin River in Mexico, he couldn’t stand it and took it upon himself to start parking up the trash. The manager called police, who ordered him to leave.

SAD 44 voters approved the FY’22 school budget of $12,393,532 by a vote of 248–96.

During Telstar High School’s graduation ceremony, students reflected on the past year and what is to come. Valedictorian Shelby Thorman told classmates, “This is the beginning of our independence. It’s time to make our mark on the world.”

The soon-to-be completed Gem Theatre will have the words, “we go together, we grow together” painted on an exterior wall. All four walls of the building are being painted different colors as part of a public art exhibit.

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